Feb 232007

Physics teaches us that there is a finite amount of energy in the universe, and though its forms can be transmuted, it is often left entirely untapped. Our psyches operate in much the same way. The forms that appear in our dreams; be they tyrants, allies or tidal waves, are simply energy that is either being made useful or depleting us.

I recently met a scientist who was explaining how all known sources of energy (thermal, nuclear, fusion, etc.) often also pose threats to the planet such as depletion, waste and cost. It’s interesting to consider dream figures in this way, as images that generate or drain resources from our personal ‘closed system.’

For instance, when you have a scary dream, it’s common to feel overwhelmed even after waking. It might throw your game for the rest of the day or even week, if it’s a real doozy. This is because we identify strongly with the role we play in the dream; be it the victim who is being chased or the unprepared student failing the exam. We hardly ever identify with the threat being posed, even though it’s pleading for attention.

But what if the pursuer could be seen to the victim as an energy source? Opposing forces would begin to look like collaborators, two sides of the same valuable coin. Healing that split begins with holding the idea that there is no such thing as good and bad dream figures – only neutral energy. This will help to create some discernment; a small gap between the dream content and our emotional response to it, giving us the wiggle room necessary to choose a different strategy.

Maybe instead of running away from our pursuers, we can stop and kiss them, or rather than submitting to the examination process, maybe we can steal the class, leading everyone in a fervent rendition of Another Brick in the Wall.

If you’re keeping a dream journal, you’ll begin to notice recurring themes emerging across your dreams. A recurring dream usually means you have a recurring pattern in waking life that is keeping you stuck. Habits run deep, so it’s important to be patient with the process and study your cluster dreams for their subtle differences. You may want to circle them with the same colour marker. Observe where they might be evolving, even if modestly, since that will show you where you are making progress.

As we depotentiate the tyrants in our own psyches, the energy that was locked up there can be used for something generative. As my scientist friend hypothesizes, gravity itself would be a marvelous source of energy if we could only learn to harness it. Actually, we are doing the same thing with dreamwork. Each pattern we release ourselves from is like dropping a sandbag off a hot-air balloon. With enough baggage dropped, we might get above the clouds after all.

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A writer, artist and tender of dreams, Toko-pa has been interviewed by CNN News & BBC Radio and her writing has appeared in publications around the world. Thanks to Skype, she works with dreamers internationally in her Private Dreamwork practice, based on Salt Spring Island in Canada. You can find Toko-pa on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list to receive news about upcoming events.

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  5 Responses to “Dreamspeak: Recurring Themes”

  1. I love your idea of the turning to face one’s dream-pursuers. I don’t have any really bad dreams any more but I do have what I think of as annoyers – dreams in which I’m trying to accomplish something but keep getting bogged down with sidetracking problems. I don’t have all the control I’d like but sometimes I can get the dream-me to take what is in the way and throw it up into the air where it evaporates. I get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction when this happens.

  2. Interesting theory. I’ve never pictured dreams or the characters in them as forms of energy although I believe that they are manifestations of elements deep in our own psyches.

    Turning to face the pursuer instead of running…so it’s a bit like Tai Chi by using the opponent’s force against themselves. But how do you achieve the control in your dreams first off? Is it something that’s dependent on each individual’s psyche or is it something that can be learned and trained?

  3. Hi Laura – I love your strategy of throwing obstacles up into the air. Sometimes it’s all you can do, but throw your hands up.

    Winluck – we will certainly talk more about lucid dreaming in the future, for which there are many reliable techniques, but in suggesting that we face our dream pursuers, I was mostly wanting to open it up as a possibility. Sometimes simply thinking of a new strategy is enough to put it in your repetoire.

  4. when “looking into a dream” (aka “looking into myself” hehe) I usually try to think “this is me too” for all parts / characters of the dream (not always easy!) … I really like your idea, it feels right 😉
    Reminds of the idea I heard, that when we cry, it is (stuck?) energy that gets moved around us.
    Hmm, time for me to start a dream journal, thx

  5. I have a recurring Dream and it sure fits with my waken patterns. I like the idea of changing the pattern in the Dream. Though some days where I feel good and wish for uplifting dreams og for my recurring Dream to change for a more positive outcome – the Dream is always the same.
    I find my ex-boyfriend, i believe we are finally getting back together, and then i loose him, he dissapears, and people talk behind my back that i am a hopeless case.
    Do you Think, that our dreams and awaken lifes are vowen so closely, that a change in the Dream Can affect the awaken Life – so kind og working backwords?
    I find it so interesting! Gonna write Down the Dream and trying to come up with a totally different outcome.
    Much love

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